Scottish Daily Mail
Police stopped ‘blood brother’ killer hours after attack . . . then let him go
ONE of the three blood brothers at the heart of the Paris massacre was stopped – and let go – by police near the Belgian border hours after the attacks.
Abdeslam Salah, 26, is now the quarry in a vast international manhunt.
One of his brothers, Ibrahim Salah, was one of seven terrorists who died while carrying out the Paris attacks, while the third Mohammed Salah, was in custody in Belgium last night after apparently being arrested in the Brussels suburb known as the jihadi capital of Europe.
Yesterday an international arrest warrant was issued for Abdeslam Salah. The public have been warned not to approach him.
Incredibly, French officials revealed that police had questioned him, checked his ID and then released him hours after the attacks.
The questioning came when police pulled over a Volkswagen Golf car containing three people in Cambrai near the French-Belgian border at 9am on Saturday.
This was hours after authorities had already identified Abdeslam Salah as the person who had rented a Volkswagen Polo that was abandoned outside the Bataclan concert hall.
But the occupants were allowed to drive on as officials found nothing suspicious, it is understood. Police in Paris first linked the attacks to
‘The situation is not under control’
Belgium when they found a number of parking tickets from the Brussels suburb of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in a VW Polo with Belgian number plates found outside the Bataclan.
Another car – also with Belgian plates – was found abandoned, packed with Kalashnikov assault rifles in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil on Sunday, leading to speculation some of the attackers have escaped. It was used during two of the drive-by shootings at restaurants.
It is now thought that the attacks were planned in Belgium by terrorists who communicated with each under the noses of security using a Sony PlayStation 4.
Belgian federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon has said that the device has been used by Islamic State agents to communicate because it is notoriously hard to monitor, and it is even more difficult to keep track of than the WhatsApp mobile phone messaging application.
The gang, which is also believed to include a woman and two men who entered Europe posing as Syrian refugees, are thought to have travelled from Molenbeek to Paris in rented cars.
The suburb, which has a population 90,000, has a large immigrant population and is one of the most deprived areas of the Belgain capital. It is known by locals as the ‘den of terrorists’ and has been linked to a number of deadly terror attacks in recent years.
Seven people were arrested in 24 hours in Brussels after they were linked to the Paris attacks, including five in Molenbeek. There were further raids in Molenbeek last night.
The first, apparently of Mohammed Salah, happened at around 5pm on Saturday, when plain clothes officers swooped on a man in his 20s outside the Osseghem metro station in Molenbeek.
Dramatic video footage of his arrest shows the suspect – dressed head to toe in black – wrestling with officers as they try to put him in handcuffs. They eventually managed to detain him by forcing him down into a kneeling down against a wall while another armed police officer trains his weapon on him.
Jules Mukendi, who lives in the street, and saw the arrest said: ‘There were three plain clothes policeman in the street, and an unmarked police car. I think they were waiting for someone. When he appeared, he tried to run into the underground station.
‘They shouted at him and ran after him and pulled him to the floor. They held him on the ground for more than 30 minutes while backup arrived. He was just a boy, not a man. Not more than 20 years.’
Then, at around 9pm on Saturday, armed police sealed of all entrances and exits to Place Communale, a large square in front of the town hall in Molenbeek. They swooped on a top floor flat and arrested a man in his 20s.
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that the attack on Paris was ‘prepared abroad, by a group of individuals based in Belgium who benefited from accomplices in France’.
Belgium has been identified as Europe’s Islamic State heartland. Per capita it is the European country providing the highest number of citizens to fight with Syrian rebels in recent years. Some 440 Belgians are believed to have travelled to Syria to fight between late 2011 and the end of 2014, according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.
At least 30 are said to have travelled from Molenbeek alone. Last night the Belgian government admitted it had lost control of Molenbeek. Jan Jambon, the interior minister, said: ‘In Molenbeek, the situation is not under control at the moment.’
A prominent, Moroccan-born member of the group behind the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 was from Molenbeek, while one of the Charlie Hebdo terrorists who carried out an attack at kosher deli in Paris in January acquired weapons in the district.
The Thalys train terrorist, who launched an attack on a high-speed train from Brussels to Paris in August but was overpowered by passengers before he killed anyone, had been living in Molenbeek with his sister in the weeks before he carried out the attack.